Asked by Anonymous

Do you think there should be a market rate for ang bao?

I understand if relatives who are poor gave 2 dollar, it's the thought that count afterall. However, if your very rich relatives also gave 2 dollar, what do you feel about it?

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  • Nicholes Wong
    Nicholes Wong, Diploma in Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 08 Feb 2019

    I would feel abit sad but they are not obligated to give ang paos. Not like if they dont give ang pao, they will go in jail. At most, next time i give their kids and grandkids $2 as well.

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  • Isaac Chan
    Isaac Chan, Finance at NUS Business School
    Top Contributor

    Top Contributor (Apr)

    Level 7. Grand Master
    Answered on 13 Feb 2019

    Wow what an interesting question! I will try to frame my answer in the perspective of finance and economics.

    I think a market rate for ang bao is not very feasible from the lens of economics. Prices of any product or service is both affected by demand and supply forces, based on how society values it. The Invisible Hand theory of economics, would state that the price of a product or service will fall into equilibrium, where both customers and suppliers of a product or service can agree on a stated price. The problem with setting market rates arbitrarily is that either demand or supply will exceed one another, and the market will be in disequilibrium.

    This is precisely the scenario you laid out above, where the amount of money in the ang pow seems that it should be appropriated according to how wealthy the person giving out the ang pow is. Markets in disequilibrium aren’t a good sign, as external parties like governments need to step in and intervene. Thus, economists would say that the everyone is happiest when you simply let the market run on its own without setting market rates.

    Hence, everyone will probably be happier if they can just decide how much ang pow they want to give!

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  • Jay Liu
    Jay Liu, Sleepyhead at Land of Dreams
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 10 Feb 2019

    Nope.

    Reunion gatherings during CNY is more important than the amount in the ang pao to me.

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  • HC Tang
    HC Tang, Financial Enthusiast, Budgeting at The Society
    Level 8. Wizard
    Answered on 09 Feb 2019

    I think there's two choice: Give or Don't give.

    So if one choose to give, then it's fine to have market rate, just to know it's not given below current rate for reason of peer pressure, culture or other reasons:

    CNY 2019 Ang Pow Market rate at:

    https://blog.seedly.sg/chinese-new-year-cny-ang-pao-red-packet-guide/

    https://singaporemotherhood.com/articles/2018/02/cny-ang-pow-giving-guide-how-much/

    At the end of the day , it's a famiy / personal choice to give more or less. Maybe take it easy and rather remember the original meaning and purpose of it so that its chill during CNY holday ? :)

    Origin of Ang Pow:

    "In China, during the Qin Dynasty, the elderly would thread coins with a red string. The money was referred to as "money warding off evil spirits" (Chinese: 壓祟錢; pinyin: yāsuì qián) and was believed to protect the person of younger generation from sickness and death.[citation needed] The yasui qian was replaced by red envelopes when printing presses became more common and is now found written using the homophone for suì that means "old age" instead of "evil spirits" thus, "money warding off old age" (Chinese: 壓歲錢; pinyin: yāsuì qián). Red envelopes continue to be referred to by such names today. "

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_envelope

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  • Yong Kah Hwee
    Yong Kah Hwee
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 08 Feb 2019

    I will secretly think that they are stingy oops

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  • Leong Wen Fong
    Leong Wen Fong, Community Lead at Seedly
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 08 Feb 2019

    Of course not. Why should they be a market rate for giving to one another? If your rich relatives only want to give you $2, then so be it.

    Can you imagine if there was a market rate that everyone followed? Let's say your rich neighbour gave you $100, which is the market rate. How are your poorer relatives going to keep up with it? They either give you the $100 and suffer for the next few months (assuming they have to give other kids too), or give lower and feel guilty about it.

    Same goes for things like wedding. Honestly, if you want to throw a big/expensive wedding, you better be sure you can pay for it. Being one of the last to graduate out of University, I attended many weddings as a student/intern. How am I supposed to pay a $288 for a wedding lunch when I only earn $800? Or how am I supposed to pay for 2 wedding lunches of $188 each?

    I don't want to give because I fear what other think, but I want to give based on how much I am capable to love/help someone else.

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  • Vineeta Sonone
    Vineeta Sonone, Financial Assistant at Multi Management & Future Solutions
    Level 4. Prodigy
    Answered on 08 Feb 2019

    Not a bad idea. Nice thought.

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